513 – Intermediate Readers and Writers

I was excited to read this week’s Flint chapter, because it focused on intermediate and advanced readers and writers in the classroom.  As teachers, we know it is our job to help those who are struggling with literacy development, but it is also our duty to encourage the other students to continue to grow.

In my classroom, I have definitely seen the tell-tale signs of students reading without comprehension.  The boy who “reads” his 50-page chapter book in one day (I am in 2nd grade, btw), or the girl who completely makes up the plot of the book when asked to describe what’s going on in Henry and Mudge.  It is quite heartbreaking to see students miss out on the joys of Junie B. Jones and other such engaging texts, simply because they cannot get engaged in the reading.

As always, I enjoyed Flint’s interspersed lesson ideas and classroom activities that foster a love of reading in the classroom.  The little example at the beginning about the teacher and the boys with their comic books, however, seemed a little unlikely.  I cannot see any of my male students using their reading time to make lists of anything, let alone adjectives describing a character in a book.  Now I completely agree that, as teachers, we must create interesting literacy tasks which both engage and focus learners, but it is not always as clear-cut.  When students are off-task during literacy in my placement classroom, they are usually talking or doodling or staring off into space.  I realize that it is my job as their teacher to figure out what interests children in my class and how I can use those topics and ideas to form my classroom lessons and activities…but that is no easy task.  Finding the right balance for a particular classroom, I think, takes a good amount of trial and error…and lots of tweaking!  But that is all part of being an effective teacher!

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4 Comments

Filed under EDUC 513 - Teaching Language Arts and Reading

4 responses to “513 – Intermediate Readers and Writers

  1. jenk723

    I totally agree with you that the teacher in the opening vignette seemed to get really lucky in finding that “perfect moment” to discover how to truly motivate those boys – I’m sure it’s rarely that clear-cut. I have been struggling to discover what could motivate my case study student, who has been a struggling reader since kindergarten, and haven’t yet found what exactly that could be. I also agree with you about Flint’s great ideas she offers throughout every chapter – definitely a book to keep and refer back to for the Spring as well as onto next year! 🙂

  2. melissaeller

    Katie –
    I definitely agree that students are missing out on the fun of making meaning in books! I have some cases in my classroom in which students think “reading well” means “reading fast” – their goal is to read books quickly, not necessarily with understanding. If they are comprehending, they are missing out on all the fun – its like hearing a joke but missing a key word.

    Also, I’m glad you mentioned that learning how to engage students’ interests is going to take a lot of trial-and-error, as I feel like my whole first year teaching is going to includes a lot of unexpected errors.

    Great post –
    Melissa

  3. cmcaroline

    I also see students in my classroom reading without comprehension and I always wonder what I’m supposed to do. I have one student (case study student) with focus problems and he likes to read sports books. He picks up one of those books and reads the statistic pages (literally just numbers on the entire page) and “reads”. I know he is self-conscious and nervous, but I wonder when am I supposed to stop this, if ever? I guess I will see what happens throughout the rest of the year!

  4. It is so great to see a teacher of these younger readers recognizing both the advanced and struggling readers! Getting young readers engaged is the whole name of the game.

    I have a blog, Ink Spells you might find interesting, aimed at finding good books for advanced readers aged 8-12.

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